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Starving Teignbridge man helped

Thursday, April 16th, 2020 7:28am

By Daniel Clark, Local Democracy Reporting Service

Food deliveries in action

An elderly man living alone in an isolated rural village had no food in his cupboard and had not eaten for two days before being helped by a recently launched hotline for vulnerable people who may have been overlooked for coronavirus support

The shocking tale, which outlines just how valuable the hotline service for vulnerable people who might otherwise fall through the net is, has been launched by Teignbridge District Council.

The Teignbridge Community Support Hotline will be a back-up to the support operation already in place, which includes food parcel deliveries co-ordinated by central and local government, NHS responders checking in on patients, plus local voluntary sector groups providing care and advice.

The hotline service will enable anyone not so far on the radar of the help network to make helpers aware of their needs, and will be especially important for people who are elderly or disabled and unable to leave their home, and are desperate for help.

Cllr Gordon Hook, leader of the council, quoted the example of an elderly man living alone in an isolated rural village, who called the council and spoke to the Food Hub Co-ordinator.

“He said he had no food in the cupboard and had not eaten for two days,” Cllr Hook said. “We took his address and one of our staff members took a food parcel from our delivery centre straight round to his home, so he had provisions within two hours. He is now on our radar.

“We are working hard to maintain all essential services, as well as playing a full part in the combined local government partnership to deliver extra support for businesses and our most vulnerable citizens.

“I want to thank all the wonderful staff at Teignbridge who have shown courage and flexibility in responding to the many challenges posed by the impact of COVID-19, many of them above and beyond the call of duty.

“I cannot speak highly enough of the outstanding commitment being shown by so many at this uniquely challenging time.”

The hotline number is: 01626 215512 and will be answered 9am – 5pm on weekdays, while the email address is: coronavirus.support@teignbridge.gov.uk

Contact details will be printed in a leaflet to be distributed shortly by CVS and other volunteer groups to people who may be unable to access the Internet.

Teignbridge Council is working with other public bodies and the voluntary sector to support local people who need help during the Coronavirus COVID-19 emergency as the number of people listed on their database as needing weekly food parcel deliveries is growing steadily.

Staff are working with Devon County Council and the Government to compile lists of “Extremely Vulnerable” individuals and households currently under lockdown.

The support being issued by the council is divided into three key strands:

Co-ordinating and delivering basic necessity food parcels to “vulnerable” people staying in their homes for 12 weeks under the Government’s Shielding Scheme.

Arranging purchase and delivery of additional food items for people in the above group who have special dietary needs.

Helping other individuals who may not qualify as part of the “vulnerable” group but are unable to cater for themselves due to mobility problems or other disabilities.

The most urgent need has been to get essential food supplies to those “Extremely Vulnerable” people – many elderly and with underlying health problems – who were confined to their homes and under strict instructions not to venture out into public places, a council spokesman said.

They added: “Recipients and their families are reminded that Teignbridge staff will be carrying ID, driving branded vans and will take parcels to the doorstep, where they will observe social distancing guidance. They will not ask for payment or any financial details – but they WILL ask people if they have any special dietary needs or may require other assistance.

“Teignbridge staff are able to source a limited range of ‘free from’ products at local food stores for delivery to those with special dietary needs.

“Teignbridge has a small team working to help these two groups and they are now turning their attention to a third set of people who may need assistance – those with mobility problems or other disabilities that restrict their ability to go shopping.

“A few such people have been in touch by phone and TDC is ramping up its efforts to identify other individuals or households who need help. The council will continue to work with local voluntary organisations and food banks who have been giving vital support both before and since the start of the COVID-19 emergency.”

More information on the effort to identify and serve people in need of food is available on the TDC website: https://www.teignbridge.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-help-and-advice/support-for-the-extremely-vulnerable/

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